Why Embracing Your Fear Changes Everything

I admit it to you now.  I'm kind of a scaredy cat.  I prefer my recliner over facing challenges. I like to keep it safe. You know, move when I know my next steps. No unknown moves. 

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And to be honest, this is how I lived my life well into my late 20's. I always made sure the next step was evident and that it was logical.  And then, something changed.  I can't say exactly what, but I was tired of letting my fears get in the way of the life I knew God wanted me to live. 

We get to choose how we perceive our fears.  We can look at them and allow them to define who we are or we can choose to embrace them, feel the fear and do that thing anyway.  We can choose to partner with our fear to live the life God is wanting for each of us. 

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A little podcast learning

The reason I bring all this up is I listened to a podcast recently on fear. You and I have a choice in our lives. We can allow fear to be paralyzing or freeing.  I loved this conversation with Donald Miller and Miles Adcox because it broke down fear into manageable bites. 

Fear is not really the problem, it’s our relationship with fear that is the problem.
— Miles Adcox

The thing is....embracing your fear is not easy.  Embracing our fear means admitting where we are.  Embracing our fear means refusing to pretend it's not there.  Embracing our fear means choosing courage over comfort.  And I wonder, if you and I haven't let fear keep us from moving forward with creating a life filled with purpose and meaning before God? 

So, how do you and I get started with embracing our fear and changing our lives?  I took some notes from Miles' wisdom for us. 

Stop pretending fear is not there

Everyone does this.  We feel the fear and pretend it's not there. Personally, I tend to avoid my fear by procrastinating.  I fear failing with a new coaching program or project.  That's easy.  Put it off.  Don't finish it. Keep perfecting it. 

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I don't know what you do to pretend your fear away, but we all have this tendency.  Allow for some grace in your life. Accept that we all do this. But eventually, we need to move beyond feeling the fear to change our lives. 

The antidote to doing this is to talk about it.  Express your fears to a trusted friend. And acknowledge that beautiful change will encounter resistance. So prepare for resistance and keep pushing through. 

Stop resisting fear

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Another way we try to manage our fears, we try to resist it. Miles' advice was stop resisting your fear.  Instead, dance with your fear. I'm not a dancer, but I love this word picture.  We need to retrain our brain around positive experiences.  If we're afraid of something, try to make it fun. Find some support. Invite a friend along.  Give yourself a gold star.  Turn your fear into a fun experience will help you stop resisting and start dancing. 

Stop overidentifying

Some of us can become our fears, can't we?  We feel the fear.  Maybe we give in to the fear.  And before we know it, we start labeling ourselves by our fear.  

I experienced this in my late 20s.  For years, I had labeled myself as this scared little girl who didn't go into restaurants by herself and was afraid to make a change.  Even after I made changes, I still saw myself through the eyes of fear. Until one day, someone I trusted gave me a new name. Instead of fear, they saw courage. 

The reality is that you and I can start to believe that's who we are and live out of that place. We can live from a place that we're not good enough, or that we're just fearful or that we'll always be that way.  Your experience is part of your story. But you and I, we are more than our past story. We can create a new story with courageous steps of faith. 

Do this instead....

As I like to tell my in-person clients, this is a bonus tip.  It's not in the script, but a life coaching tip none-the-less. Instead of pretending or resisting or over identifying. Be brave with your fears. Before we can be brave, we need to get to know them.  Intimately. 

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One of my fave coaching tools is called "Inviting Your Fears to Dinner". Take out a piece of paper and draw a dinner table with your fears seated at the table. This can be fears over a particular area (like losing weight or building a business) or common fears you face consistently. 

Name your fears and give them each a thought bubble of what they consistently say to you.  When your masterpiece is complete, look back and write down what you notice about your picture. 

Next, have a conversation with your fears.  What do you say back to them?  Recently, I've been working with several clients on this very thing.  Your fears and the story we're telling ourselves are not always true. But you and I, our naturally tendency is to use our own logic to fight these untruths.  Instead, tell them what God would say.  Find actual Bible verses that remind you of what's true despite what your fears are saying. And use them. 

I love the quote I shared earlier.  It's not fear that's the problem.  It's our relationship with our fear.  What is one way you would like to change your relationship with fear today? 

Hey friend!  I'd love to hear from you and walk with you as you change your relationship with your fears.  Feel free to drop me an email. I'd love to pray with you about your changing relationship with fear. 

Danielle AllenComment